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till they are tried, and no longer: they will teach him to talk, and nothing more. The circumstances in which your son is placed will be even more prevalent than your example; and you have no right to expect him to become what you yourself are, but by the same means. You, that have toiled during youth, to set your son upon higher ground, and to enable him to begin where you left off, do not expect that son to be what you were—diligent, modest, active, simple in his tastes, fertile in resources. You have put him under quite a different master. Poverty educated you; wealth will educate him. You cannot suppose the result will be the same. You must not even expect that he will be what you now are; for though relaxed, perhaps, from the severity of your frugal habits, you still derive advantage from having formed them; and, in your heart, you like plain dinners, and early hours, and old friends, whenever your fortune will permit you to enjoy them. But it will not be so with your son: his tastes will be formed by your present situation, and in no degree by your former one.
You are sensible of the benefit of early rising; and you may, if you please, make it a point that your daughter and your son shall retire at the hour when you are preparing to see company. But their sleep, in the first place, will not be so sweet and undisturbed amidst the rattle of carriages, and the glare of tapers glancing through the rooms, as that of the village child in his quiet cottage, protected by silence and darkness: and, moreover, you may depend upon it that, as the coercive power of education is laid aside, they will in a few months slide into the habitudes of the rest of the family, whose hours are determined by their company and situation in life. You have, however, done good, as far as it goes; it is something gained, to defer pernicious habits, if we cannot prevent them.
There is nothing which has so little share in education as direct precept. I do not mean to assert that sentiments inculcated in education have no influence; they have much, though not the most: but it is the sentiments we let drop occasionally, the conversation they overhear when playing unnoticed in a corner of the room, which has an effect upon children; and not what is addressed directly to them in the tone of exhortation. If you would know precisely the effect these set discourses have upon your child, be pleased to reflect upon that which a discourse from the pulpit, which you have reason to think merely professional, has upon you. Children have almost an intuitive discernment between the maxims you bring forward for their use, and those by which you direct your own conduct. Be as cunning as you will
, they are always more cunning than you. Every child knows whom his father and mother love and see with pleasure, and whom they dislike; for whom they think themselves obliged to set out their best plate and china; whom they think it an honor to visit, and upon whom they confer honor by admitting them to their company. “Respect nothing so much as virtue,” says Eugenio to his son;
16 virtue and talents are the only grounds of distinction.” The child presently has occasion to inquire why his father pulls off his hat to some people and not to others: he is told that outward respect must be proportioned to different stations in life. This is a little difficult of comprehension: however, by dint of explanation, he gets over it tolerably well. But he sees his father's house in the bustle and hurry of preparation; common business laid aside, everybody in movement, an unusual anxiety to please and to shine. Nobody is at leisure to receive his caresses or attend to his questions; his lessons are interrupted, his hours deranged. At length a guest arrives: it is my Lord whom he has heard you speak of twenty times as one of the most worthless characters upon earth. Your child, Eugenio, has received a lesson of education. Resume, if you will, your systems of morality on the morrow; you will in vain attempt to eradicate it. “You expect company, mamma; must I be dressed to day?” “No, it is only good Mrs. Such-a-one.” Your child has received a lesson of education; one which he well understands, and will long remember.
But the education of your house, important as it is, is only a part of a more comprehensive system. Providence takes your child where you
leave him. Providence continues his education upon a larger scale, and by a process which includes means far more efficacious. Has your son entered the world at eighteen, opinionated, haughty, rash, inclined to dissipation? Do not despair; he may yet be cured of these faults, if it pleases Heaven. There are remedies which you could not persuade yourself to use, if they were in your power, and which are specific in cases of this kind. How often do we see the presumptuous, giddy youth changed into the wise counsellor, the considerate, steady friend! How often the thoughtless, gay girl into the sober wife, the affectionate mother! Faded beauty, humbled self-consequence, disappointed ambition, loss of fortune—this is the rough physic provided by Providence to meliorate the temper, to correct the offensive petulancies of youth, and bring out all the energies of the finished character. Afflictions soften the proud; difficulties push forward the ingenious; successful industry gives consequence and credit, and develops a thousand latent good qualities. There is no malady of the mind so inveterate, which this education of events is not calculated to cure, if life were long enough; and shall we not hope that He,
in whose hand are all the remedial processes of nature, will renew the discipline in another state, and finish the imperfect man?
SINS OF GOVERNMENT, SINS OF THE NATION.
We act as a nation when, through the organ of the legislative power, which speaks the will of the nation, and by means of the executive power which does the will of the nation, we enact laws, form alliances, make war or peace, dispose of the public money, or do any of those things which belong to us in our collective capacity; and we are called upon to repent of national sins, because we can help them, and because we ought to help them. We are not fondly to imagine we can make government the scapegoat to answer for our follies and our crimes: by the services of this day they call upon us to answer for them; they throw the blame where it ought ultimately to rest; that is, where the power ultimately rests. It were trifling with our consciences to endeavor to separate the acts of governors sanctioned by the nation, from the acts of the nation; for, in every transaction, the principal is answerable for the conduct of the agents he employs to transact it. If the maxim that the king can do no wrong throws upon ministers the responsibility, because without ministers no wrong could be done, the same reason throws it from them upon the people, without whom ministers could do no wrong.
The vices of nations may be divided into those which relate to their own internal proceedings, or to their relations with other states. With regard to the first, the causes for humiliation are various. Many nations are guilty of the crime of permitting oppressive laws and bad governments to remain amongst them, by which the poor are crushed, and the lives of the innocent are laid at the mercy of wicked and arbitrary men. This is a national sin of the deepest dye, as it involves in it most others. It is painful to reflect how many atrocious governments there are in the world; and how little even they who enjoy good ones seem to understand their true nature. We are apt to speak of the happiness of living under a mild government, as if it were like the happiness of living under an indulgent climate; and when we thank God for it, we rank it with the blessings of the air and of the soil; whereas we
· I regret that my limited space will not allow me to take more from this most admirable essay on education-the best, I hesitate not to say, that I have ever read.
* A day for a National Fast.
ought to thank God for the wisdom and virtue of living under a good government; for a good government is the first of national duties. It is indeed a happiness, and one which demands our most grateful thanks, to be born under one which spares us the trouble and hazard of changing it: but a people born under a good government will probably not die under one, if they conceive of it as of an indolent and passive happiness, to be left for its preservation to fortunate conjunctures, and the floating and variable chances of incalculable events : our second duty is to keep it good.
Amongst our national faults, have we any instances of cruelty or oppression to repent of? Can we look round from sea to sea, and from east to west, and say that our brother hath not aught against us? If such instances do not exist under our immediate eye, do they exist anywhere under our influence and jurisdiction? There are some, whose nerves, rather than whose principles, cannot bear cruelty; like other nuisances, they would not choose it in sight, but they can be well content to know it exists, and that they are indebted for it to the increase of their income, and the luxuries of their table. Are there not some darker-colored chil. dren of the same family, over whom we assume a hard and unjust control? And have not these our brethren aught against us? If we suspect they have, would it not become us anxiously to inquire into the truth, that we may deliver our souls? But if we know it, and cannot help knowing it, if such enormities have been pressed and forced upon our notice, till they are become flat and stale in the public ear, from fulness and repetition, and satiety of proof; and if they are still sanctioned by our legislature, defended by our princes—deep indeed is the color of our guilt! And do we appoint fasts, and make pretences to religion? Do we pretend to be shocked at the principles or the practices of neighboring nations, and start with affected horror at the name of Atheist? Are our consciences so tender, and our hearts so hard ? Is it possible we should meet as a nation, and knowing ourselves to be guilty of these things, have the confidence to implore the blessing of God upon our commerce and our colonies, preface with prayer our legislative meetings, and then deliberate how long we shall continue human sacrifices? Rather let us
Never pray more, abandon all remorse. Let us lay aside the grimace of hypocrisy, stand up for what we are, and boldly profess, like the emperor of old, that everything is sweet from which money is extracted, and that we know better than to deprive ourselves of a gain for the sake of a fellowcreature.
A Discourse for the Fast, April 19, 1793.
WHAT IS WAR?
We should do well to translate this word WAR into language more intelligible to us. When we pay our army and our navy estimates, let us set down—so much for killing, so much for maiming, so much for making widows and orphans, so much for bringing famine upon a district, so much for corrupting citizens and subjects into spies and traitors, so much for ruining industrious tradesmen and making bankrupts, so much for letting loose the demons of fury, rapine, and lust within the fold of cultivated society, and giving to the brutal ferocity of the most ferocious its full scope
of invention. We shall by this means know what we have paid our money for, whether we have made a good bargain, and whether the account is likely to pass—elsewhere. We must take in, too, all those concomitant circumstances which make war, considered as battle, the least part of itself. We must fix our eyes, not on the hero returning with conquest, nor yet on the gallant officer dying in the bed of honor(?)—the subject of picture and of song—but on the private soldier, forced into the service, exhausted by camp-sickness and fatigue; pale, emaciated, crawling to an hospital with the prospect of life, perhaps a long life, blasted, useless, and suffering. We must think of the uncounted tears of her who weeps alone, because the only being who shared her sentiments is taken from her: no martial music sounds in unison with her feelings; the long day passes, and he returns not. She does not shed her sorrows over his grave, for she has never learnt whether he ever had one. If he had returned, his exertions would not have been remembered individually, for he only made a small imperceptible part of a human machine, called a regiment. We must take in the long sickness, which no glory soothes, occasioned by distress of mind, anxiety, and ruined fortunes.
These are not fancy-pictures; and if you please to heighten them, you can every one of you do it for yourselves. We must take in the consequences, felt perhaps for ages, before a country, which has been completely desolated, lifts its head again: like a torrent of lava, its worst mischief is not the first overwhelming ruin of towns and palaces, but the long sterility to which it condemns the tract it has covered with its stream. Add the danger to regular governments, which are changed by war, sometimes to anarchy, and sometimes to despotism. Add all these, and then let us think when a general, performing these exploits, is saluted with “Well done,